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S. American soccer chief stresses need to broaden market

Conmebol President,Conmebol, Alejando Domínguez, participates in the summit of club coaches that play the Copa Libertadores at the headquarters of the Conmebol in Luque, Paraguay, 19 March 2019. EFE-EPA / Andres Cristaldo

Conmebol President,Conmebol, Alejando Domínguez, participates in the summit of club coaches that play the Copa Libertadores at the headquarters of the Conmebol in Luque, Paraguay, 19 March 2019.

EFE-EPA / Andres Cristaldo

EFE

The president of the South American Soccer Confederation (Conmebol) defended here Tuesday his strategy of promoting regional competitions in the international market.

Addressing the coaches of the 32 clubs taking part in the 2019 Copa Libertadores, Alejandro Dominguez reviewed the ways he has sought to transform the tournament since taking charge of Conmebol in 2016.

The changes include larger financial rewards for the winning club and the players and the incorporation of new platforms for viewing Libertadores matches, such as Facebook.

“We have to create products that can be sold beyond our borders, because it’s not enough to make money from the inside when there is much more outside,” he said at Conmebol headquarters in suburban Asuncion.

Dominguez said that all of the innovations are aimed at recouping a pre-eminent role for South America in international soccer, recalling the “embarrassing” performance at the 2018 World Cup, where no South American team reached the semifinals.

“The difference between Conmebol and UEFA (European soccer’s governing body) is that they identified problems and got in front of them. Today they’re not just better than us at the level of national teams, but also at the club level,” Dominguez said.

Turning to the virtues of South American soccer, he pointed to Conmebol’ success in extending anti-doping controls to 100 percent of organized competition in the region, including the indoor game and beach soccer.

He also cited reforms within Conmebol ensuring that 87 percent of revenue is used for soccer operations, while only 13 percent goes to ancillary activities.

Dominguez said that Conmebol has done a lot in the past three years to clean up its image after the corruption scandal of the previous administration.

He acknowledged that until 2016 the institution was a “personal business” for the people in charge, who failed to distinguish between Conmebol’s funds and their own.

Dominguez said that he changed Conmebol’s internal rules and procedures and implemented “audits and financial controls” to guarantee transparency.

“The (previous Conmebol) statute was crafted to protect the men from the institution, today it protects the institution from the men,” he said.


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